This was great. I love Ginny here--it seems really probable that she and Al would have this sort of relationship. And the addiction and shame Al felt (about the potion, the stealing, his orientation, his feelings for someone who was cruel to him) felt really honest and relatable.
The only criticism I have is of this sentence: "he didn’t make a point of advertising his preference for the same gender." It may seem like a small thing, but I think it's a pretty big deal. Preference makes it sound like he's choosing to be into dudes, instead if just that he is. Even if you're not sold on the "it's not a choice" side of the debate, you could write something like "he didn't make a point of advertising his attraction to the same sex". (And, this is more minor, but the sociologist in me comes out: gender is societal, sex is biological. He's attracted to the same sex. ) I'm sure you didn't intend to make it sound like Al prefers guys in a way that he actively chooses to fancy them, instead of just plain fancying them with no thought to "choosing" them over girls, but I thought I would mention it.
All in all, lovely story. I just want to give Al a big hug.
Well, hello again!
A lot of the themes in this story were carefully chosen because they are things that are very relevant to modern society. I don't mean to be a drum-banger, but these are things that are important to me as an individual, and to most of the people I care about. And really, I've never made Albus more partial to his mum than his dad, so that was a new one on me. And really, I wasn't looking to make Scorpius out to be the villain, but more the thoughtless teenage boy who doesn't behave better because he wasn't taught to behave better. It's obvious in his apology that he isn't like that and doesn't want to be, so I think it's a hard lesson learned, and I think the next generation of Malfoys will be a bit better behaved.
As for the line in question, I really hadn't thought about its possible ambiguity. It was more that Albus likes boys, knows it, and is fine with it, but he just doesn't want to trumpet it around because he knows that some people are jerks about it. I've never been one for gender roles or assigning value to what people like to do or who they love, so those sorts of questions simply don't occur to me. However, as it doesn't convey in the story what I want it to, I will look into changing that for the purpose of clarity.
Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story (or appreciated, because I don't know how much enjoyment one can derive from a story like this). Your reviews are well thought out and articulate, and it's always a joy to get ones like these from people who aren't my regular readers. Ciao!
I really should have reviewed this a long time ago, but I still don't think I can form coherent thoughts.
It's just so different, and (as I absolutely adore this ship) I wondered ever since I saw the drabble what else was to come. I felt so horrible for Albus during the entire thing; to be driven to the point where he needs the potion, then to become addicted... :( It made me easily begin to hate Scorpius, but I'm so glad he realized what an arse he'd been by the end. It's just sad to see that it took a horrible detox to a highly addictive potion for Scorpius to realize what he's done.
There's so much more I want to say, but this was just a;sdlkfjas;dfkljsaf;af and lovely and perfect and just so unique I can't really wrap my head around it. I can't tell you how much I love it; the ship, the way it was written, everything. It's a completely different take on Albus as well as Scorpius, and I adore it and major
Of anyone who's read this, I'm the most glad that you like this story. At first, I had no idea how you would react, since it was about as romantic as a date to Burger King. However, I pushed on anyway, because I hoped that you would enjoy story and substance more than a haphazard get-together.
Teenage boys are stupid and thoughtless; I'm sure you know this well enough. They don't always mean to be cruel, but they do, and things like this happen as a result. With yet more teenage-boys-are-stupid-and-thoughtless, Albus put himself into a terrible position instead of simply standing up for himself or talking to the right people.
I think I'm most proud of Albus, because more than any other version of him I've done, he reminds me the most of the hesitant boy in the Epilogue, the one who is afraid to not meet expectations. He doesn't want to be weak or at Malfoy's mercy, yet in his efforts to hide his anger at what Scorpius had done, he did just that. Poor guy. :/
Making Scorpius into a bad guy was never an option. Yes, he's an antagonist and the primary source of the protagonist's angst, but it doesn't make him a bad person, but more of a bad decision-maker. And he realises this. You see that there is good in him because he doesn't want to hurt people. It's only a matter of him seeing that he had done and making the appropriate steps to try to repair the damage he'd caused. It was almost a relief to write the ending scene, because while they might not be best friends after this, I think they will both have a renewed respect for the other, as well as a change of preconception.
Anyway, thanks for visiting, and I'm glad you liked the story. :3
I was going to leave a review that consisted of two things.
1) This is the only other ship I will allow for Scorpius
2) FLAAAAAIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
and then I read to the end and whilst I'm still flailing, and whilst I'm still thinking 'hmmm, ScorAl', I'm also loving this story. Jess, this is brilliant. I think you really have caught a moment here with the gay shaming and the addiction problems.
Sorry, I want to leave a better review because quite frankly this deserves something incredible, but I can't think what else to say except this is fantastic.
Brilliant stuff, Jess. Perhaps you need to write 'less often' so your genius is concentrated in fics like this.
Yay, you ship ScorAl! It's one of my favourite NG ships, and I like the idea that if Drarry never happened, their contrasting personalities could bicker on in the next gen.
This was a difficult topic to tackle, because a lot of people don't like to think that this problem exists. Even in a seemingly harmless fashion, it's everywhere. Teenagers use the phrase "that's gay" over here to describe something that sucks or is somehow lacking in usefulness. What is a gay kid supposed to think about that when they hear it? Some can let it roll off their backs, but some can't do that. All it takes for one thoughtless person like Scorpius to send a kid who minds his own business to fall into something as dangerous as potion abuse. All he wanted to do was get away from the feelings that were essentially forced on him, and his first kiss was from someone who was trying to win a bet. I know that would upset me, and I have the emotional range of a mossy boulder.
I'm glad you liked this, because Soraya and I had a long conversation about this story lacking something. I still am not sure if I filled in the gap or not, but a lot of thought went into making this story the right kind of fic for the subject matter.
While I don't think ScorAl will happen in this, I do believe that they could become friendly acquaintances, or at least Scorpius will start to leave Al alone. Either way, I think both of them are better for the experience, because Al will think a bit harder about what he does when he feels like he has nowhere to turn, and Scorpius will think about what his actions do to other people. If there is a lesson in this story, let it be that.
I've really missed writing a lot, and now that RL and VL have shaped up a bit, I can do it more again. Plus, when I sit down, words are finally happening. :DD I'm glad they're not s***e words, lol. *squishes*
I must warn you, this is not going to be very SPEW-y, because it gave me a lot of feels as I read, and also because the message you were trying to send across through this really touched me.
Anyway, I was waiting to read this ever since that fantastic LoveNote for Ellie. I didn't guess that it was you, but it was so well written, I'd decided to find out and prod the person towards completing this.
I like how this fic is so different, and well thought-out, and how you have managed to make it a wonderful piece about bullying, which just seems to be getting worse as time passes. I can certainly see it happening in the next-generation in a worse way than what it was during Harry’s time at Hogwarts (when I was in school, bullying was stealing lunch money. My brother, however, has classmates who isolate one boy a day so they can kick him in the place it hurts the most). And the overall consequences of the bullying are so sad, I was left feeling rather terrible for Albus towards the end.
I loved Albus's character. I always love the various ways in which he's portrayed, but your Al blew me over. He's so sweet, as usual, but also, his weaknesses are clearly defined-- with the stealing and all, but I guess that comes with addiction. I also liked that he was closer to Ginny. That’s not an angle that we see very often, because of the epilogue, but I completely agree with you. I think Ginny would have been better with Albus, as compared to Harry. Mostly because Albus would always find a need to meet his dad’s expectations (whether they’re very high or not). There would be a certain pressure upon him because he’s Harry Potter’s son, and this, I think, could have been properly balanced out by Ginny.
I rather liked Scorpius too. He had a tinge of Draco, I think, but he’s kinder. I’m glad he took up some of the punishment too. :) Also, the fact that he felt guilty enough to come back and actually apologise to Albus was a nice addition. Now that has left me wondering is anything ever happened between the two of them later on. I hope it did!
The Hogsmeade scene, which I can recognise as the original lovenote, is very well written. I loved the “stiffy against my thigh” dialogue -- probably because it sounded so typical of teenagers. The kiss was well written too, and Scorpius noticing the colour of Albus’s eyes made me grin.
The writing style, oh Queen, is as flawless as you. You have such an engaging, interesting way of presenting your work! Nothing is ever awkward, and the whole story was so smooth. I also loved the amount of research you seem to have conducted upon the potion. I certainly wouldn’t find that interesting as a task, and I realise it would have taken you a lot of patience too.
This is such a lovely story, Jess! I wish I could make this into a full-fledged SPEW review, but I think I’m just too excited and happy to read this. But wow! What a fabulous story! Thank you for expanding on this! :D *hugsss*
I really wanted to do this review justice by having an epic response, but I regret to inform you that after several attempts, that is a pretty much failed venture. This shall be me flailing about you flailing. :D
I think you picked up a lot of how I wanted Al to be portrayed in this story. The kid we saw in the epilogue was scared of disappointing anyone or being not good enough, so I thought that could be interpreted as a boy who keeps to himself to avoid letting down friends by not being enough. Of course, we both know that's nonsense and that he has a lot to offer, but when he can purport himself as if nothing is wrong, hardly anyone will notice that he's struggling with self esteem on the inside. Add a douchebag bully who insults a very private part of his life, and you've got a recipe for disaster.
Now, the dream sequence was a bit tricky, and Soraya and I did quibble over it a bit. The issue we both had is if this first taste of kissing someone of the preferred gender could elicit the sort of dreams that Al was having. However, since teenage boys have those sorts of dreams on their own, I thought it would be plausible given the proper stimulus. Add a helping of shame on Albus's part because he felt dirty and sullied after Scorpius's little bet, and you have a kid looking desperately for a way to put it from his mind.
The prolonged dreams were actually the result of Albus self-medicating, and when he stopped self-medicating, he started to have withdrawal symptoms (which, with valerian, can manifest as delusions in males...not sure why with females). And naturally, he couldn't ask anyone for help, since he'd already started stealing from the potions cupboard. And being in the medical field, I'm sure you've learned about drug-seeking behaviour and the things people will do to get a fix.
Scorpius, for the lack of a better term, is a typical, stupid teenager. He is self-centred and doesn't think about his actions much before he does them. I bet that, in his mind, he convinced himself that Albus would laugh that Hogsmeade incident off and that nothing bad would happen other than fulfilling a bet and winning ten galleons. He probably had no idea how cruel his actions were until he saw the result of them. Sure, he didn't put the potion into Al's hands, but he might as well have done. He had a boy who was pretty much okay with his sexuality be ashamed of how his body reacts to sexual stimulae, which is an almost unforgivable thing to do to a young man struggling to figure out who he is.
Even if the readers could've dealt with having no closure between Scorpius and Albus, I felt like I couldn't let that stand. Albus isn't Harry, and Scorpius isn't Draco. While both are influences, I felt like they were both different enough people to where they would need to react in ways contradictory to how their fathers would've done. That's why I needed Ginny to be the parent Al connected with the most. He requires flexibility and support, which are two things that, given his life experiences, Harry probably couldn't give as well as Ginny. Ginny is a survivor, and Al needed that kind of support to deal with this. whole mess. Plus, I'm proud of myself for being nice to her, as she's high on the list of my least favourite characters.
Thank youuuuu for the squees about my writing. I do have to say that Soraya and her magic beta-ly highlighter had a good bit to do with that. She knows my foibles and how to point them out, so I get the chance to work on those and refine things. I'm not much of a dialogue person, but I'm glad that it felt right to you as a reader.
Thank you for the lovely review, for which you must never apologise. Reviews like this one are rare breeds on most sites, and most authors would give their left boob to get one. :) Thanks for stopping in, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story!
I loved it! Very original story for the Potterverse and very powerful look at the consequences of bullying. It was well-written and emotional, with lots of nice little touches (like Ginny) that really gave it depth. Good research on the potions, too. And a good resolution with Scorpius. I'm always glad when he turns out all right. ;) I sort of want to know more about Albus's fit, but can see how leaving it in the shadows is a deliberate decision and works well in context. The only thing I'm really wondering is how bad the detox was for Albus. :(
Great story, glad you expanded it!
I wasn't really angling to make this a message fic, but it sort of turned out that way. Al is a nice kid who just wants to mind his own business, but people like that always end up being the targets of bullies because they don't fight back in equal measure. And of course Albus would never tattle or ask for help.
The potions thing was tricky. I did some research on valerian, and apparently, long-term (more than 6 months) use can cause delusions in *males* who start to detox from it, which was interesting, but also that it could react in a similar fashion to certain allergy medications. And since most medicines have natural bases, it's logical to assume that some Muggle medicines we know have some of the same ingredients as their magical potion counterparts.
I made a conscious decision to leave Harry out of this and use Ginny instead. What I said in the story about why Albus bonded more with his mother than his father was true; however, Harry fights fire with fire and might have given Albus bad advice about how to fight bullies. Harry never had an encounter with Draco at school that turned out well. Ginny, however, had a strong command on her social life from years of dealing with older brothers who weren't always kind (aren't they all that way a bit?).
I knew, in the end, that vilifying Scorpius would be a mistake. He's a teenage boy behaving like a stupid teenage boy. While not a crime, it's not the most glorious state of being, and little thought of consequences come to mind other than how to get out of them. It's just like throwing pennies off of a tall building; they have to land somewhere, even if they look harmless in one's hand.
Anyway, thanks for reading! I'm glad you liked it. *hugs*